AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - This football season there may not be enough referees to cover high school football games around the Panhandle and officials are asking for your help.
The Referee Association is looking for men and women who love the game of football and who want to commit to learning the game to make sure local kids can play.
Training is provided for those who would like to become an official and there is a test you must pass. However, all the information is provided to learn the game.
The Referee Association is constantly looking for volunteers from all around the Panhandle to join their training sessions. Sessions are every Monday from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. for new referees and veteran classes follow from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Region 16 building located at 5800 Bell Street in Amarillo.
The association works continuously to provide the best training possible for their officials and to make sure first year refs are comfortable on the field. Even though the job might sometimes be stressful, Steve Cohen from the Referee Association would like to assure you this is a team you want to be a part of. "Again I go back to that we have a lot of fun, we really do," said Cohen. "But, when we are on the field it is serious and we take it seriously and you know we provide for the safety. A lot of people don't realize the officiating rules are not to give one group a better chance than another, it is to protect the players."
The lack of referees is a problem that needs to be taken seriously. The UIL has around 114 veteran referees for this year's 67 football games, meaning there may be 5 or 6 games they are not able to cover. In turn, schools will have to reschedule their games to either Thursdays or Saturdays, making it tougher on the coaches and students affected.
"It's a great group of guys that we work with every week. They get to know us, the coaches get to know us. They know what our strengths and sometimes our limitations are, but I've always said we owe it to the schools and we owe it to the kids to provide the best type of officiating we can provide on that field on any given night," said Cohen.